Nigeria's John Obi Mikel has been ruled out of the World Cup finals due to an ongoing knee injury.
The Chelsea midfielder reported for international duty with the Super Eagles last month carrying a knee problem which forced him to miss the final month of the domestic season following surgery.
Mikel is now believed to have told Nigerian officials that he did not feel fit enough to compete in South Africa and so has been released from the squad.
"We have dropped Mikel from the World Cup after he told the team he did not want to put his career at risk as his knee injury has yet to fully heal after a recent surgery," said team co-ordinator Emmanuel Attah.
The 23-year-old missed last weekend's warm-up game against Colombia but coach Lars Lagerback was upbeat about his chances of being fit for the tournament.
Nigeria take on North Korea in Johannesburg on Sunday in their final warm-up game before their World Cup campaign begins with a match against Brazil on June 15.
Greece and Argentina are their other Group B opponents.